Young dancers help revive Limbs' work, as the dance company turns 40

by Joanna Wane / 03 October, 2017
Photo/ Amanda Billing

Photo/ Amanda Billing

Cory-Toalei Roycroft describes herself as “quite a squiggly dancer”. So moulding her body to the smooth, elongated movements of those who came before her has been an interesting challenge.

“It’s a very different aesthetic to the shorter, sharper movements of how a lot of people dance now,” says Roycroft, who’s performing in a revival of MaryJane O’Reilly’s 1983 work Poi as part of a Limbs retrospective at Auckland’s Tempo Dance Festival (Q Theatre, Auckland, October 4-15).

“There is such strong imagery and some very beautiful moments that keep the audience drawn to the piece, so it’s awesome to be able to add that to my palate.”

O’Reilly, who was artistic director for the ground-breaking dance company from 1978 to 1986, spent two weeks training with Roycroft and her fellow students at Unitec’s School of Dance for Limbs@40, which also restages classic works by Douglas Wright and Mark Baldwin.

At 21, Roycroft is already a dance veteran. Of Maori and Samoan descent, she took up ballet at the age of eight, and gradually picked her way through jazz and tap to ballroom and hip hop. But it was only after studying O’Reilly’s burlesque-style In Flagrante as part of her NCEA studies at Westlake Girls High that she was inspired to move in a new direction.

“I thought it was really cool,” she says. “And now here I am, three years later, working with MaryJane, who was such a big influence on me learning contemporary dance.” 

This was published in the October 2017 issue of North & South.

 

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